- Vol. 04
- Chapter 02
Here we are on the edge of the world – or the top of it, who knows. The earth is not a ball anymore; perfect, rotating, coated in lush forests and swirled with rain. It no longer hovers in a black swath of space, there when you need it, on a poster of nine planets in your classroom as a kid, or on a snazzy online map of eight planets when you were older and cynical but found yourself coming back to remind yourself which was green and which was blue, which had golden stripes or rings. You wonder if you were a hipster then, or a nerd. Whether there was ever any difference.
Now the end of the day has come, and you are wise and know we have no bauble of a home, no jewel of aquamarine and jade and pearl to be set at your finger or wrist. You inhabit a plain, long and rugged. Funny how we should regress. That we were round was our greatest breakthrough and now we are flat, roaming a surface that only hosts us; doesn’t curl us in its arms or lick us or hold us to the skies like the trophies we were. The horizon is our end, though calling it that feels a bad fit. Horizon is a pretty word, emotive, from the other time. From youth. Who knew Youth would come to mean more than the glory days of any one of us. It feels so distant now; we shake our heads and shrug and laugh silently, because we can’t believe that was in the same lifetime as this.
You are burning up. You do not fear. You know our timelines are different, that there can never be any great human collectiveness. You are alone and your moments as a fireball will hurt no-one. You stand on the rock like a prophet, or a messenger arrived from space, a baby just fallen into this land. But you are old. Not old in the sense it had in the last world. But you have lived. The sea is in its purest form, silent and dark. Whether there is any life left, you don’t know. It is no longer turquoise; it is blue, blue like the vast nothingness it reflects.
Oh, there are stars, still. You can’t make out whether they are those you have known. Clouds cover some, and you are fast forgetting any patterns but Cassiopeia and Leo, that queen who scared you and your own dear birth sign. Birth. The word feels tangy in your mouth now, like a burst of dew. For one brief breath you are in a garden of childhood, pulling a thick stalk of grass from the edge of the lawn and biting into it, feeling the sweetness and thinking you look intrepid and brave, you are significant. You shift back to the here and now. There is no wind. The tide is dying. Everything is still. Time to go home.